Leeds CBeebies presenter George Webster to launch Cookridge Community Run 2022 in memory of inspirational Gareth Dunn

Leeds-born CBeebies presenter George Webster will be launching the third annual Cookridge Community Run held in memory of inspirational Leeds sportsman Gareth Dunn.
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Organisers hope around 400 runners will join in this year’s 10k race at Golden Acre Park on May 22, with another 100 to 150 children taking part in one-mile fun run.

The event, which was first held in 2019, aims to continue the memory and fundraising legacy of Gareth Dunn, of Cookridge, who died in October 2018 aged 27 from secondary cancer of the lungs.

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Before his death, Gareth was an active sportsman and, despite having had his right leg amputated due to a rare cancer called Synovial Sarcoma, he had been selected to train across five disciplines with the British Paralympic squad ahead of the 2020 Toyko Olympics.

The Cookridge Community Run in 2019. Picture: Jonathan GawthorpeThe Cookridge Community Run in 2019. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
The Cookridge Community Run in 2019. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

He also ran the London Marathon in 2018, which helped him raise over £100,000 for Cancer Research UK - a fundraising goal he set himself when he received his terminal cancer diagnosis.

His dad Lee, who helps to organise the community run along with Gareth’s friend David Smart, said this year they hope to smash the £200,000 mark, in aid of Cancer Research UK and other local charities, such as junior football teams and local scouts groups.

He said: “We’re hoping for 400 runners which would be great. To be able to boost charities which have had a slow couple of years - especially Cancer Research, which has suffered an awful lot with nothing going on [due to Covid]. We hope that we can help that charity and boost its funds.

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“We hope this year if people can start doing activities we can maybe get his target to £200,000 - that’s the aim this year if we can.”

And CBeebies star George will be there on the day to press the button to start the 9am fun run before joining in the 9.30am 10k race himself.

Lee, 64, said he hopes the community run will become a popular annual event.

“I think Gareth would have loved it and loved that it’s keeping on going.

“We are obviously very proud that it’s run in his name.

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“On the day, it’s lovely to have it but also bittersweet as well because he’s not around to enjoy it.

“But if we can do something to help charities and Cancer Research that’s excellent for the family and for all of us really.”

For more information and to enter, visit https://www.cookridgecommunityrun.co.uk/.